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Looking for inspiration on office recycling and waste?

Traditionally, every desk in an office had a bin underneath – which was great for the user, but very labour-intensive for the cleaning team, very wasteful on plastic bags and encouraged poor recycling.  But today, with the rise of agile workspaces and, more importantly, the increasing demand for recycling, things aren’t quite that simple.  So the question of how many bins you should have, and where they should go, keeps popping up.  So what is the answer?


In short, it depends.  Every office environment is different, and it’s impossible to come with a one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are some ‘rules of thumb’ which may come in handy…

  1. Nobody should be more than 10-15 steps away from a recycling point.

  2. One recycling station should serve about 30-35 people.

Remember that these are only guidelines, but this can be a great place to start.

Other things to consider are:

#1 – Waste type & volume

Each office is different, and creates different amounts of different types of waste.  Some offices have coffee machines or water coolers with single-use cups, some supply all their staff with re-usable cups and bottles.  Some offices are almost completely paperless, some still process a lot of paperwork.  Analyse the volume of each waste stream you produce and this will help you to figure out how many bins you need and what waste streams you need to prioritise – you may need more bins for some waste streams than for others.

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#2 – The space available

We’ve talked before about why you should include recycling in your office designs.  If you’re redesigning an old office or building a new one, be sure to incorporate space for bins into your design.  However, if you’re retro-fitting recycling points to your office, then this can be one of the biggest factors in deciding how many bins go into your office, as many offices are simply limited by space and where recycling stations can conveniently be fitted. Our bespoke recycling stations give you the opportunity to create a bin that is like a stylish piece of furniture, blending in to the surrounding decor whilst serving a very important purpose.Samsung - MultiBin 4 Recycling Station d_crop

#3 – Make it easy

The key point is to make it easy for staff to use the recycling bins, so there is no excuse not to recycle. We have seen success in large offices removing their under the desk waste bins, and strategically placing large office recycling bin stations with customized waste streams in high footfall areas, such as in office break out areas and in the main office, ensuring it is easy for everyone to get to. Recycling shouldn’t be a headache for your staff. Our solutions focus on making it as easy and engaging as possible. Through effective signage, you can clearly communicate with your staff where to put their waste with just a brief glance. This not only makes it easier for them – it increases your recycling rates as well. Every workspace has different recycling needs.  That’s why every recycling station we make is unique.  We’ll create the station that’s right for you and no-one else – with the right waste streams, the right signage, and the right designs. Need a double-sided station?  Short on space?  Need 6 different waste streams?  No problem – we’ll create a station that’s just right for your office.

If in doubt, try it out.

The only way you can really find out how many bins you need is to try it.  Make your best guess and test it out.  If staff are engaged in recycling, great!  If not, try moving the bins or adding more bins until you get it right. Include clear and very visual signage on your waste and recycling station to make it easier, and less likely they will put waste in the wrong stream. Try putting signs saying “Don’t Forget to Recycle” or “Did you know ____ this can be recycled?” on the wall, or even tent cards on the table in your office lunchroom to remind people to recycle. Simple statements like these are fantastic reminders to staff on how to properly sort their waste, and increase your office recycling rates.

Have you got any favourite tricks for engaging staff in recycling?  Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear them!